Think Gujarat, think Muslim genocide. Think Narendra Modi think, Hindu hardman. But there is something beyond Hindu-Muslim that has been happening in Gujarat over the five years of Modi rule. In fact, currently Muslims are not really an issue in the mind of the majority population. And in the beginning of a year that will end with an assembly election in the state, the man once cornered by national and international outrage is busy transforming himself into the global Hindu leader, friend of industrialists, protector of Gujarat. He has emerged as something of a colossus in the state, a fascist monster perhaps for the minority, but a hero for many.
This image has been cultivated through deft political moves, a talent for making critics irrelevant, reducing rivals to ciphers and working his mass appeal and public-speaking abilities to his advantage. All this may not eventually contribute to the health of democratic institutions in Gujarat but Modi appears to be at his prime.